Credit cards with cryptocurrency rewards have made a big splash among crypto-curious cardholders over the past several months.
In many ways, these cards work just like general rewards cards; you can use the card to charge purchases, and you’ll earn rewards on eligible spending. Instead of cash back or rewards points, you’ll earn your rewards in the form of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
While this can be a good strategy for the risk-averse to build a crypto portfolio without investing much of their own money, crypto rewards cards do have some drawbacks compared to regular rewards credit cards. Most importantly, cash back and other rewards have relatively standard redemption value, so one point is generally worth about one cent. But because crypto prices are notoriously volatile, your rewards value can fluctuate wildly over time. Also, if you’re interested in a crypto rewards card because you don’t want to risk your own cash in crypto investments, consider whether cryptocurrency is right for you at all.
If you are interested in earning crypto rewards on your spending, there are a few options already on the market. Two currently-available crypto rewards cards are the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card and the BlockFi Rewards Visa Card.
Before you apply for either card, check whether you’re in a state where the card is available. The BlockFi Rewards Visa is not available to New York state residents, and the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards card is not available to residents of Hawaii, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
Both of these cards offer the same ongoing 1.5% rewards rate and charge no annual fee. That said, there are some big differences in how you redeem and store the crypto you earn with either card, and in what you can do with it.
Here’s what you need to know about the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card and the BlockFi Rewards Visa Card, and how they compare.
|Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card||BlockFi Rewards Visa Card|
|Welcome Offer||No welcome offer||Earn 3.5% back on all purchases for the first 90 days after account opening, capped at $100 in crypto|
|Rewards||Earn 1.5% back in bitcoin as you make payments on your card||Earn 1.5% back in crypto on every purchase, after the introductory period|
|Other Benefits||• Fixed monthly payments can help you save on interest if you carry a balance
• No foreign transaction fees
|• Earn 2% back in crypto on every purchase over $50,000 each year
• Once your crypto rewards are redeemed, you can hold or trade them through BlockFi or move them to another crypto wallet
• No foreign transaction fees
The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card doesn’t have a welcome offer of any kind. By contrast, the BlockFi Rewards Visa Card does have a bonus offer, although it’s fairly limited.
Once you sign up for the BlockFi Rewards Visa Card, you can earn 3.5% back in crypto on all purchases for the first 90 days after account opening. However, this bonus is capped at $100, so you’ll only earn this rate on up to $2,857 in spending during the first 90 days.
Rewards and Benefits Comparison
After the introductory period on the BlockFi Rewards Visa Card ends, you’ll earn a flat 1.5% in crypto as you make purchases, but you can increase your rewards to 2% back when you spend over $50,000 annually. With this card, you can choose to redeem for any cryptocurrencies available on BlockFi, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more.
The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card offers the same 1.5% back rate, but there are a couple important distinctions. First, the Upgrade card only earns rewards in Bitcoin — you don’t have the option to redeem your rewards for any other cryptocurrency. And instead of earning rewards as you spend, you’ll only get your Bitcoin rewards as you pay your balance off. This means you’ll need to be diligent about paying down your card each month to get rewards, though that’s best practice with any rewards card to avoid high-interest debt.
Both of these cards are Visa Signature cards, so they come with a handful of purchase protections and travel benefits. Examples can include concierge services, special access to travel opportunities and events, and privileges within the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.
As you compare, also consider the differences in how you can use the crypto you earn. With the BlockFi Rewards Visa Card, all the crypto you earn is transferred to your BlockFi Wallet, where you can hold for the long haul, trade for other types of crypto, or even sell. This card also lets you move your crypto to another wallet if you prefer, which gives you a lot more flexibility.
On the flipside, the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card sends your assets to crypto platform NYDIG, and doesn’t let you move your Bitcoin to your personal wallet or another crypto exchange. Unfortunately, this means the only way to use your rewards is to sell your Bitcoin, and you’ll have to pay a 1.5% transaction fee to do so.
The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card charges APRs that range from 8.99% to 29.99%, although your specific interest rate will depend on your creditworthiness. If you don’t pay your balance in full, you’ll be assigned a fixed monthly payment schedule at a fixed interest rate. With the BlockFi Rewards Visa Card, the variable APR you’re assigned can range from 14.99% to 24.99%.
Neither card offers an introductory rate for purchases or balance transfers,
Both cards charge no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. However, fee structures diverge from there.
With the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card, there’s no late payment fee, but you will pay a 1.5% redemption fee to cash in your Bitcoin. That’s only $1.50 in fees for every $100 in bitcoin you sell, but can add up quickly.
The BlockFi Rewards Visa Card can charge a late payment fee of up to $25 and a returned payment fee of up to $37.
Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
- Intro offer:
- Annual fee:
- Regular APR:
- Recommended credit:
(No Credit History)
- Learn more At
BlockFi Rewards Visa® Signature Card
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
Deciding Between the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card and BlockFi Rewards Visa Card
If you decide you want to earn crypto credit card rewards, our pick between these two options is the BlockFi Rewards Visa Card.
Both cards let you earn 1.5% back in crypto on ongoing purchases, and are free of annual fees and foreign transaction fees. But with the BlockFi card, you’ll have more flexibility in the type of crypto you can earn and where you hold your crypto assets. Plus, you’ll get the opportunity to earn more in rewards with the welcome offer and boosted rewards after $50,000 spent annually.
That said, take time to think about whether crypto rewards are the right choice for you. With volatile rewards earnings in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, you could be missing out on the guaranteed return offered by credit cards with cash back, points, or miles rewards. And many of the best rewards cards offer even higher rewards rates with no annual fee. If you like the idea of flat rewards on every purchase, some cash back credit cards offer more lucrative welcome offers and up to 2% back on your spending.
While crypto credit cards make earning Bitcoin easy, you could always earn a higher rate of cash back then invest into crypto yourself.